Volleyball is the oldest varsity women’s sports program at LSU, but it never seems to get the proper respect it deserves. While gymnastics has now become a cult happening (#GymSchool), soccer is a twitter cause celebre (#SellTheKits), and softball is one of the crown jewels of the athletic department, volleyball has even lost its hard won place in the sports constellation to its beach progeny.
Taylor Bannister has been working overtime to fight for volleyball’s recognition.
As a freshman in 2017, she made an immediate impact, being named to the AVCA South Region All-Freshman team as well as being named first team All-SEC. Her 456 kills in 2018 didn’t just lead the team for the second consecutive season, but was the highest total for an LSU Tiger since Kyna Washington in 2007.
Bannister is a three-time first team All-SEC player and a two-time All-American honorable mention. She is the most decorated LSU volleyball player in a decade, and she’s helped put the program back on the map.
She didn’t start playing the sport until the ninth grade. As the child of two former pro basketball players, Bannister decided to take up a new sport because she wanted to do something different than her parents. At an imposing 6’5”, she quickly learned how to dominate above the net.
Fran Flory, the LSU coach, has commented “She needs to understand how good she is. When that happens, she’ll be one of the greatest to ever play here.”
Due to her success at LSU, Bannister was named to the US Collegiate National Team, and competed on that select team, representing the USA in Tokyo.
In her junior year just completed, Bannister finished fourth in the SEC in kills/set, averaging 4.29. She also averaged third in the SEC in scoring, averaging 4.91 points/set. In conference play, she is first in kills/set at 4.82 and second in points at 5.51.
Bannister carried LSU to a 9-9 record in SEC play this season, but the team missed out on the NCAA tournament. The good news is that Bannister still has one remaining year of eligibility, in which she will attempt to earn her fourth All-SEC honor and carry the Tigers back into the postseason.
You get one more chance to appreciate one of the all-time greats, Tiger fans. Don’t miss out.